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The Thoroughbred Connection

GUARDIAN PROFILE - Last Updated: 04/18/2017



Chief Staff Officer:  Vicki Vilchek

Employees:   Full-Time:  0  Part-Time:  0  Volunteers:  8-10

Does your organization utilize a management company for management and administration? No

Describe your training process for employees and volunteers and the types of human resource documents used in your organization including job descriptions, evaluations, etc. As there are no employees, there is no formal written training process for volunteers at this time. However, it is verbally explained to volunteers that they may need to clean stalls, sweep hallways, feed and water horses, brush horses etc. We ascertain how familiar they are with horses and how much they feel comfortable doing. If they are unfamiliar with how to complete a task, we train them on how to properly complete the task. If written job descriptions and evaluations are required, we would be happy to comply.

Governing Body:

Board meetings per year:  2

Number of Board Members:  4  Number of Voting Board Members:  2

Board Compensation:

Is Board Chair compensated?  No  Is Treasurer compensated?  No

Are there any other Voting Board Members that are compensated?  No

Board Relationships:

Are any members of the Board or Staff related to each other through family or business relationships? Yes

If yes, provide the name, title, responsibility and family/business relationship of each Board and/or Staff member. President and Treasurer are married.

Board Affiliations:

Are any Board members or Staff associated with and/or compensated by another organization with a relationship or business affiliation to your organization? Yes

If yes, provide the name, title, responsibility and family/business relationship of each Board and/or Staff member, and the name of the related organization. The Executive Director owns the property at which the organization conducts its programs.

Conflict of Interest:

Does your organization have a written conflict of interest policy and regularly and consistently monitor and enforce compliance with the policy, including requiring officers, directors or trustees, and key employees to disclose annually interests that could give rise to conflicts?  Yes


1. What percent of your total programs and services are horse-related? 100

2. Describe your specific horse-related programs services or activities:
     The Thoroughbred Connection is a horse rescue operation located in southwestern Pennsylvania that is involved in rehabilitating Thoroughbred racehorses that have been injured, can no longer race, or do not have the will to race at the track. Many of these horses are well enough and sound enough to be placed and retrained for another discipline. Our goal is to adopt these horses into loving homes to avoid their fate at an auction or slaughterhouse. We also offer the option of a full retirement facility for those owners who wish for their horse to have a place to live out the life that they deserve in total retirement. The Thoroughbred Connection is here to fill in the gap for many deserving athletes who have given their all when asked in their performances at the racetrack and aid them in transitioning from a life of hard work to a life in a new discipline or retirement.

3. Enter the total number of facilities/locations where the horses used in the conduct of your horse-related programs are housed and cared for: 1

4. Describe your non-horse-related programs, services or activities you provide, including those involving other animals. n/a

5. Does your organization operate programs involved with animals other than horses?  No


1. Describe your equine management philosophies, practices, policies and operations with respect to the use of the horses in your program, including the rehabilitation and retraining (if applicable), ongoing training, schooling and exercising plan for each horse and your policy as to the number and condition of the horses accepted by your organization. 
     The equine philosophy differs for each horse. Some horses are here for permanent retirement, others need stall rest and then need reevaluated to determine the next step. Those who can be retrained are given 30 days of rest and then 30 days of ground work. At that point many of them are placed in new homes. Those who are not placed continue to be ridden by volunteers with supervision. The maximum capacity is 30 horses. The horses we accept are in racing condition but many have been injured on the track.

2. Describe how your horses are acquired (adoption, seizure, surrender, donation, purchase, auction sale, retirement). 
     Our horses are donated to us by owners and/or trainers directly from the racetrack. No horses are purchased at auction.

3. Describe under what circumstances horses leave your organization. Please describe in detail your horse adoption/fostering practices and procedures including any recruitment initiatives you have to attract potential adopters. Please include your policies and practices with respect to horses that are no longer useful or manageable and horses that need to be retired. 
     Those who are retired, stay at our facility on a permanent basis. Other horses who are no longer useful are adopted out as pasturemates as they are pasture sound only. The person(s) adopting these horses understand that they can not be ridden and they are companion animals only. There are adoption applications on our web site. We also have a facebook page. Word of mouth is another recruitment initiative we use on an ongoing basis.

4. For new horses, describe your initial assessment process for each horse (i.e. physical examination, test ride, health record, Coggins test, quarantine, veterinary consult, etc.). 
     The horses we accept are all current with their shots. They also have X-ray records from their previous owners/trainers. They are fully vetted at the track. If they have broken bones, they come with their X-rays and we have X-rays taken later to determine if they have healed.

5. Describe your overall horse health care plan and how you assess and monitor the health of your horses on an ongoing basis. Include a description of your vaccination and worming schedule. Include a description of your health/veterinary care plan for at-risk animals, geriatric horses and horses with serious issues. 
     Horses get spring and fall shots in March and September. Horses are paste wormed every 8 weeks. Those with ulcers get ulcer meds. We apply blisters to those with knee injuries and absesses are soaked. The geriatric horses receive Senior feed or their feed is soaked in water to make it into a mash. Horses with serious issues receive stall rest and X-rays when needed. Ongoing vet care is provided.

6. What is the euthanasia policy? Please include specifically under what circumstances your organization will euthanize a horse and whether your organization will euthanize a healthy but difficult horse for space: 
     We do have a euthanasia policy. We follow the euthanasia policy of the Association of Equine Practioners. We euthanize under vet recommendations and when there is no quality of life or when the horse is in intense pain. No healthy horses are ever euthanized.

7. What is the breeding policy? Please include specifically if horses become pregnant while in your care, and if there is a no-breeding clause in the documentation your organization uses to adopt, donate, sell, etc. a horse: 
     There is no breeding policy and there is a no breeding clause if a mare is adopted. Most of our horses are geldings. Only occasionally are stallions accepted for very short periods of time such as if they need a short layup to recover from a minor injury.

8. Does your organization provide horses to any facility to use in research or medical training? 

9. If your answer to Question 8 is 'Yes', please explain where and for what purpose horses are provided to use in research or medical training?  NA

10. Does your organization sell, donate or give a horse to an auction? 

11. If your answer to Question 10 is 'Yes', describe under the circumstances where you have sold, donated, or given a horse to an auction, or where you would sell, donate, or give a horse to an auction. NA

12. Does your organization place horses in foster care? 

13. If your answer to Question 12 is 'Yes', describe how foster homes are selected, screened, and monitored and address all the questions below for each foster home in the space provided: NA

14. What is the average equine adoption fee/donation received by your organization: $501 to $750

15. Adoption Fee Policies
  Adoption fees may vary depending on the equine level of training.
  Adoption fees may vary depending on the equine age.
  Adoption fees may vary depending on the equine health and soundness.

16. What is your position regarding varying adoption fees vs. one set fee:
  Our organization approves of this concept.

17. Provide any additional explanation to your answers if needed: Please see our website for adoption forms and for any additional information regarding adoptions.


This section must be completed for each facility/location where the horses used in the conduct of your horse-related programs are housed and cared for. For example, if the applicant is involved with horse rescue and utilizes foster care facilities, the applicant must complete this section for each foster care facility. If the applicant provides equine assisted activities/services to the public at more than one location, the applicant must complete this section for each location that horse-related services are provided. If your organization uses the facility of another organization, please enlist the aid of that organization in answering the questions.

Total facilities at which our organization operates horse-related programs: 1


Location 1 of 1
The Thoroughbred Connection

562 Palmer-Adah Road Adah PA 15410

1. Facility General Questions

1. Name of Contact: Vicki Vilchek

2. Contact's Phone: 724-570-3169

3. Contact's Email: thetbconnection@gmail.com

4. Does your organization own, lease or use a part of this facility? Use

5. If not owned, provide the name, address, phone, email and contact person of the organization(s) and/or individual(s) who owns the facility: Vicki Vilchek owns the facility and operates the Thoroughbred Connection.

6. If your organization does not own this facility, does your organization have a written agreement with the owner? Enter Yes or No.   No

7. If your organization does not own this facility, please provide the following information below: Start date and end date of current written agreement (term) and what is the organization's plan for the end of the written agreement? 
     Vicki Vilchek is the owner and operator of the farm where the Thoroughbred Connection is located. The Thoroughbred Connection uses the farm free of charge so there is currently no written agreement.

8. If your organization leases or uses a part of this facility, please provide the details as to what services are provided by the owner and if and how the owner is compensated.. 
     The owner is not compensated and provides full care for the horses at her own expense.

9. Does your organization operate programs involving horses AT THIS FACILITY that serve individuals with special needs, including but not limited to equine assisted activities and therapies? No

10. Enter the total number of instructors/trainers (full-time and part-time) involved with your organization's horse-related programs at this facility: 0.

2. Facility Horse-Related Questions

1. Enter the total acreage dedicated specifically to the horses: 30

2. Describe the number and type of pastures and paddocks, fencing, enclosures, stabling including barns and run-in sheds. There are 7 pastures, 10 paddocks, high tensil fencing, corral panels and wood fencing. There is 1 indoor arena. All pastures have run in sheds and 2 paddocks have run in sheds. There is 1 barn with 12 stalls. Three additional paddocks with run-ins are in the construction process.

3. Describe how you manage the use of your pastures/paddocks given the size and number of your pastures/paddocks and the number of horses you have at this facility.
     Most of the horses stay outside if weather permits as they have run in sheds available at all times. Injured horses or those that are sick/injured are kept indoors.

4. How many hours of daily turnout do the horses get? (Estimate or Average) 24

5. Describe the area where your training, riding and equine related activities are conducted, including what type of footing/surface is utilized and what factors were considered to determine the suitability and condition of the area for the activities conducted.
     The indoor arena has sand footing and it is attached to the barn which makes it easy to take a horse from the barn and into the arena area. There is also an 150 foot in diameter outdoor pen used as a riding arena.

6. Is the facility in compliance with the Care Guidelines for Rescue and Retirement Facilities prepared by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (whether or not your organization is directly involved with rescue and retirement)? Yes

7. If no, please explain and specifically describe the areas in which the facility is not compliant. Not Applicable

8. If this facility is recognized as compliant with the published standards of another applicable organization, and/or accredited by another applicable organization, including any state licensure or registration process, please provide the details.

9. Describe the availability/accessibility of emergency horse transportation at this facility.
     We have a truck and a 2 horse trailer to provide emergency horse transportation when necessary.

10. Do the horses have specific tack assignments? No

11. Describe the plan, process and/or procedures to insure appropriate assessment of tack and the use for saddle fittings, tack, blankets, etc.
     Tack is examined before each use to insure it is safe to use. Blankets and saddle pads are cleaned on a regular basis.

12. Describe the system used by your organization to help staff and volunteers readily identify each horse on the property.
     They all have signs on their assigned paddocks or stalls. A feeding list is also posted so that each horse is given the appropriate amount of feed/supplements for its age/ailment.

13. Describe your housing plan and the turnout process/plan for horses normally stall bound.
     Some horses who are normally stall bound are turned out into the indoor arena on a rotation schedule for 1 hour periods per day. If they are not permitted out of their stall, they are not on the rotation schedule.

14. Describe your feed, feed management plan and your guidelines for the use of supplements.
     Feed consists of oats, sweet feed and soaked beet bulp, occasionally soaked alfalfa cubes/pellets depending on the needs of the horse. Some get a mixture of the the 3. The Seniors get Senior Feed. Supplements are given when needed as recommended by our vet and are generally given during feeding times.

15. How do you use the Henneke Body Conditioning Score to guide you in your hennekeing/exercising/use practices for each horse?
     Horses are fed according to body weight and use in order to maintain proper condition and body weight. The Thoroughbred Connection tries to maintain a body weight between a 6 to 7 - Moderately fleshy, some at a 5 due to leg injuries not permitting a huge amount of weight, according to the Henneke Body Conditioning system. Most horses are in the 6 range.

16. Please describe your activities to limit or control the advent and spread of disease within your facility (Biosecurity plan). This should include but is not limited to your manure management and disposal procedures, your carcass disposal plan and your parasite control plan. Please indicate the role of your veterinarian in the development and implementation of your overall plan.
     Manure is moved away from the facility until such time as it is hauled away by individuals in the community who use it for their own purposes. Horses who die on the premises are immediately removed and hauled away. Parasite control is administered by traps that trap flies and other insects. Also,manure is not allowed to accumulate in the barn which controls parasites. The veterinarian is involved on an as needed basis in the development and implementation of the overall plan.

17. Please describe your emergency preparedness plans that address weather related issues, fire safety procedures and/or any additional hazardous scenarios your facility could potentially experience.
     There are several fire extinguishers strategically placed throughout the barn and the entrance to the indoor arena. In a severe weather situation, horses could be moved to the barn and indoor arena for safety.

18. Please describe the security in place at the facility or facilities to restrict public access and to keep horses safe. Do you have a security system and/or on-premises caretaker?
     There are several security cameras on the perimeters of the property. The owner and her husband live on the property in a home that is located directly before the entrance to the barn and pastures.

19. Provide the contact information for the individual or organization responsible for investigating abuse in the county where the facility is located, including mailing address, email address, and phone information.
     There is no one in the county appointed to investigate animal abuse at this time.

20. Other than the animal control authority noted above, provide the contact information for all local, state and/or national authorities with whom your organization engages to address issues impacting horse welfare, including mailing address, email address, and phone information.

Veterinarian Information

View The Vet Checklist conducted on 03/14/2017

Veterinarian: Dr Susan Sickle

Clinic Name: Same    Street: 168 Pump Station Road    City: Clarksville  State: PA    Zip: 15322

Phone: 724-880-8486    Email: s.sickledvm@verizon.net

Instructors assigned to this Facility
(see Instructor Section)

3. Facility Horse-Related Inventory Questions

1-a. Enter the total number of horses involved with your organization's programs that are currently housed at this facility: 21.

1-b. Enter the total number of horses housed at this facility: 21

1-c. Enter the maximum capacity of horses at this facility: 30

2016 Horse Inventory

1-d. Did your organization operate programs involving horses HOUSED AT THIS FACILITY during January 1-December 31, 2016? Please select Yes or No. Yes

Additional explanation:n/a

25 2-a. Total number of horses housed at this facility involved with your programs on January 1, 2016.

           + 0 2-b. Total number of intakes other than returns including donated, purchased, surrendered or rescued.

           + 0 2-c. Total number of horses returned.

25 = Total of 2a-2c

           - 3 2-d. Total number of horses adopted during the year.

           - 0 2-e. Total number of horses transferred to another facility during the year.

           - 1 2-f. Total number of horses deceased during the year.

4 = Total of 2d-2f

21 2-g. Total number of horses housed at this facility involved with your programs on December 31, 2016.

            3 2-h. Total number of horses not retired including horses undergoing rehabilitation and/or retraining.

            18 2-i. Total number of horses permanently retired.

2016 Horse Care Costs

$8500     Feed (Grain/Hay).

$6800     Bedding.

$1000     Veterinarian.

$3000     Farrier.

$0     Dentist.

$0     Manure Removal.

$500     Medications & Supplements.

$750     Horse/Barn Supplies.

$0     Horse Care Staff.

$0     Horse Training.

$0     Other direct horse-related costs not including overhead or other program costs.

$20550     2016 Total Horse Care Costs

$     2016 Total Donated Horse Care Costs

7665     Grand total of the total number of days each equine was in the care of this facility during 2016.

Average cost per day per horse: $3
Question 3 ($20,550 ) divided by Question 4 (7665).

Average length of stay for an equine: 307 days
Question 4 (7665) divided by total of Questions 2a-c (25).

4. Self Assessment

I. Facility & Grounds

     1. Signage: Are rules, restrictions and warnings posted in or near appropriate areas? All of the time

     2. Lighting: Are rules, restrictions and warnings posted in or near appropriate areas? All of the time

     3. Emergency Contacts: Are emergency contacts posted in easily accessible locations for staff members if only cell phones are available or by each phone if landlines are available? All of the time

      4. First Aid Kits: Are human and equine first aid kits up-to-date and easily accessible? All of the time

B. Structural

      1. Condition of surface: Are horses provided a clean, dry area on which to stand & lay? Most of the time

      2. Flooring - drainage & traction: Are floors constructed and maintained for both good drainage and traction? All of the time

      3. Ventilation for enclosed shelters: Is there adequate ventilation and circulation to control temperature and prevent buildup of toxic gases? All of the time

      4. Electrical wiring condition: Is wiring inaccessible to horses and maintained for safety? All of the time

      5. Fire Prevention & protective measures: Are fire prevention and protection measures including fire alarms, extinguishers and sprinkler systems, maintained and in good working order? All of the time

      6. Quarantine/Isolation: Is there a designated and separate area for isolation and quarantine? Yes

      7. Ill/injured containment: If horses live outside, is there a designated and separate area (stall or enclosure) to house ill/injured horses? Yes

      8. Are the horses housed in stalls/enclosures? Yes-Most of the time

      8-a. If yes, Stall/enclosure size: Do structures allow horses to lie down, stand up and turn around? All

      8-b. If yes, Stall/enclosure cleanliness: How often are stalls/enclosures cleaned? 6-7 days a week

      8-c. If yes, Adequate ceiling & beam height: Is there a minimum of 12 inches above the tip of the horse's ear when standing? All of the time

C. Paddocks/Yard/Pastures/Turnout

      1. Turnout/Exercise Space & opportunity: Is there space and opportunity for horses to exercise or be turned out? All of the time

      2. Fencing - type, height, safety: Are these spaces appropriately fenced? All

      3. Use of electric wire or tape fence: Are electric wires or tape fence visibly marked? Please select 'All or NA' if electric wire or tape fence is not used. Most

      4. Condition of fences & gates: Are fences and gates functioning properly by being maintained and repaired when needed? All

      5. Condition of paddock/yard: Are these spaces free from equipment and debris? All

      6. Availability of shelter: Are natural or man-made shelters available to horses for protections from elements? All of the time

      7. Cleanliness: How often are these spaces cleaned? Daily or 6 Days a Week

II. Horse Care

      1. Hoof Care: How often is hoof care provided for each horse? Every 1-2 months

      2. Dental Care: How often is dental care provided for each horse? Every two years

      3. Physical Examinations: How often is each horse given a physical exam by a veterinarian? Annually

      4. Horse checks: How often are horses visually and physically checked by personnel at the facility? 6-7 days a week

      5. Food & Water Storage: Are all hay, feed, grain and water sources clean, free of debris and chemicals, and protected from weather and other animals? All of the time

      6. Drinking water: How often do horses have access to clean drinking water? All of the time

6. Public-Related Questions
(required if programs serve individuals with special needs)

1. How many clients participate in the programs at this facility? 12

2. How many hours per week do you operate the horse-related programs at this facility? 12

3. How many weeks per year do you operate the horse-related programs at this facility? 52

4. What is the average wait list time? 0 (Weeks/Months/Years)

5. How many hours per day does each horse work? (Estimate or Average)

    Mounted:   Un-Mounted:   Total: 0 *Missing/Error

6. How many days per week does each horse work? (Estimate or Average) 3

7. What percent of your programs and services at this facility are mounted (vs. ground-based)? 50%

8. Provide any additional explanation to your answers if needed. Many of the horses are not worked each day if they have been retired, are injured, or are being rested. Questions #5 and #6: Many of the horses we have up for adoption are only lightly ridden before being adopted.

V. Instructors/Trainers

This section is required only for organizations that provide equine assisted assisted activities and/or therapies (EAAT) to people with special needs. It is optional but suggested for other organizations and an opportunity to share information about your instructors/trainers with the general public.